So You Want to Blog? Here Are Four Tips to Help You Get Started
If blogging is something you've just started, or something you've always wanted to do, here are four quick tips to help you get started. If you are a seasoned blogger already, these four tips may offer some new perspectives for you:
1. Eliminate the words "blog" and "blogging" from your vocabulary. Why fall into the trap of labeling your writing and your writing website a "blog." In the first place, the term "blog" sounds odd, even to those who have used it for years. (It actually evolved from the terms "web log," ie, an online diary or journal.) In addition to sounding odd, it surrounds the simple process of writing with a confusing mystique that many beginning bloggers – er, writers – themselves have trouble dealing with.
If you do not see the wisdom of using the words "writing," "writer" and "writer's website" instead of "blog" and all the related words, think about this: How often have you gone to a forum and heard people ask the question, "Do I need a blog or a website?" I'll bet you've heard that idea and even thought about it yourself.
Reality check: A "blog" is a "website." Indeed, I and many other people I know have both traditional "blogs" and "websites" all running on the same software, with the "blogs" differencing only in the function of allowing site visitors to leave their comments.
If you write "articles" instead of "blog posts," the only difference is that visitors to your site probably understand "article" and give it more perceived authority than they do "blog post." In fact, some of the software I use carries the title "Recent Posts," because it was designed to work with "blogging" software. When I change the title to "Recent Articles," I immediately capture more reader interest in my website.
2. Stay away from "how-to" ebooks and self-professed "gurus" about blogging. Such opportunities come about because people have heard that blogging is a quick way to make some money online. Here, there are a lot of people out there happy to take your money and tell you how to make money blogging. From several years of painful experience, I can assure you there are no quick roads to blogging riches, and you really only need to know the things you can find out for free. (In this article, for example.)
Keep focused on what "blogging" really is – writing. If you maintain that focus and have any writing interests and experience at all, you know all you need to know about the fundamentals of making money blogging / writing online. Write quality articles, put them on your website, and people will extremely find them, read them, and become visitors to your website. Others searching in Google, Bing, Whatever will find the content of your site and also show up. At that point, you'll have what's called "traffic," and then you can start finding ways to monetize that traffic.
Stay away from the gurus. Do not waste your time and money on how-to ebooks. Just write. Then write some more.
3. Write about what you know and love, or those things you would like to learn about. That's the quick answer to questions you probably are asking after reading my second tip.
Bloggers / online writers share this in common with anyone who writes: They have interests, experiences, and knowledge that they want to share with others. So do you. That's what you should write about. If your reaction is something like, "Well, I really do not know anything others would be interested in," then you need to rethink 1) what information people are looking for on the Internet, and, 2) how much you really DO know about stuff that you may not realize.
You do not have to be an "expert" to write about something in your blog / writing website. But it really helps if you have a passion for the subject you're planning to write about. Harness that passion to learn more, share that knowledge with potential readers, and they, too, may catch the same passion. That's sort of what blogging / writing is all about.
4. Take advantage of free, easy to use software and templates to build your blog / website. If you think about it, here's an amazing fact about writing and putting articles on the Internet: You can get and set up everything you need to do a really professional job of publishing your information for the world to read, and you can do it for free or nearly free.
If you go to the WordPress website, you can download incredibly useful software for online writing – and it's free. For about $ 10 a less per month, and another $ 8- $ 12 per year, you can find your own domain name and a web host to give you the space to install that software and get started writing online. And that simple process allows you to be as professional as a multi-million dollar publishing house if you work at it.
These four tips should help you find a starting point. If you want to be a "blogger" – uh, I mean online writer – simply 1) use your writing skills to write online at a site you can easily find or set up for yourself with free software that will publish your writing, and, 2) find what you have a passionate interest in and focus on that for the topic of your "blog" – uh, scratch that – WRITING site.